What are the most effective platforms and respective forms of protection for selling a program while minimizing loss of revenue to file-sharing?

Joseph Videtto January 21, 2013

If a person
– has an idea for a software, and
– is concerned about minimizing loss of revenue due to file sharing,
– and also has the option of choosing any of several platforms for development and distribution (Windows, iPad/iPhone, Web-based internet app, etc.)…

then which combination of development tool / platform / protection would best minimize theft due to file-sharing ?

Also, what software sites or articles give the best high level overview of software protection schemes and the pros and cons of each?

  1. Muo TechGuy
    January 22, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I think you should work on the actual content first - beginning by considering piracy will guarantee failure.

    Of mobile platforms though, iOS is the most likely to generate revenue without being pirated too much. You'll see zero cash if you develop for RT or Android. But this is all theoretical, because ideas are cheap and the real work is actually making something.

  2. salim benhouhou
    January 22, 2013 at 9:04 am

    i think you can't avoid software piracy but create a good software and promote it well and you will get results .

  3. Junil Maharjan
    January 22, 2013 at 5:10 am

    verification or activation through your server or through calling your server as microsoft is doing with its office apps. i had to call their office (which was toll free and can be called through skype) to verify my microsoft office.

  4. Paul Pruitt
    January 22, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I have tried the opposite strategy. I try not to care about intellectual property. I release everything Open Source but then try to make money through ads on the sites where I advertise them, and adware attached to my installers through installmonetizer.com.

    The gold standard for adware installers is probably Open Candy. However you need to be a big player, with 100,000 downloads a month and I found their system to be temperamental. However is can probably be said that their adware offers are probably the least objectionable of freeware/open source software monetizing companies.

    Some big names like download.com make all their freeware include adware in the install routine. Irfanview and some others distributed through sourceforge.com have adware attached to their installers.

  5. ha14
    January 21, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    crackers will always find vulnerabilities and exploit them, now depends if they want to spend time on your soft or if its a good challenge. many software are full download version without need of license, with hardware foot print or one time activation...some likes the ability to use the software offline or to be able transfer easily to another machine...

  6. Jan Fritsch
    January 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    The better the software the more likely it will end up on file sharing networks. And regardless of how good your protection is there will always be a genius cracker out there trying and at some point succeeding in breaking your protection.

    One effective method would probably be a session type protection where the application has to have constant internet access and be able to contact some license/activation/tracking server on your end during usage.

    But even such systems can (at some point) be cracked and some local fake server implemented e.g. like the "nosTeam" games who are using a cracked offline version of Steam.

    Personally I wouldn't go any further than:
    - a License Key
    - (maybe) a one time online activation

    Anything beyond that usually results in issues and nuisance for paying customers.

  7. Oron Joffe
    January 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    There are lots of considerations and how well a program can be copy-protected is only one of them. The applications one can write for a PC or a Mac can be quite different from those from a tablet or phone app, and the development languages will be different as well.
    Broadly speaking, systems that have an integrated online shop (Win 8, Mac OS 10.7+, IOS and Windows RT) offer _some_ defence against file sharing (but not unbreakable by any means). There are a variety of other protection schemes, copy protection, online activation/licensing) and some of these can use existing products. It's a question of looking a functionality, total cost (of development and deployment) and the relative risk of unwanted copying.

  8. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    January 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I've heard that this company's softwares are uncrackable to date-[http://www.coriolis-systems.com/]. Might be urban legend or just something out of rumor mill, but try to ask them. The writer of Xplorer2, widely regarded as one of the best Windows Explorer replacement, had written several articles concerning security methods he employed and how they failed. Good for reference. If you don't want to lose revenue to file sharing, I'd say host the file yourself if you can afford the bandwidth.
    Bottom line is piracy isn't something you can actually fight and win every time, but if you concentrate on making ggood software and keeping the price reasonable it can be minimized.
    I cannot really help you with development tool/etc, but if you want something that works cross-platform, web-based apps might be good. Windows RT and iOS both have their own closed ecosystems if you don't mind extra work (gaining approval) and if I'm not mistaken Apple requires some sort of license/whatever-they-call-it for developer.

  9. Mihovil Pletikos
    January 21, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    wp, windows RT and ios are the best platforms for that, but it is impossible to be 100% safe against piracy.... also if the software is good people will buy it.... most of people who pirate it wouldn't buy it at all

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